The Heart of Silicon Valley beats for WiFi
November 16, 2005 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Mountain View plans WiFi city. The Mountain View, CA City Council has approved an offer from Google to rent the city's street lamps for $12,600/year to install city-wide wireless internet. Some residents are concerned about privacy and health issues, but the city council says that's beyond their scope, and chooses to take the free lunch. (Disclaimer: I live here.)
posted by sarahnade (28 comments total)

Disclaimer: used to live there and now wish I still did.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:09 AM on November 16, 2005

privacy and health issues?

posted by furtive at 11:11 AM on November 16, 2005

Why is Google paying for this? Is it a community service or is it just an experiment? (can't read first link)
posted by billysumday at 11:12 AM on November 16, 2005

billysumday: It's an experiment. Google is fully open to the fact that giving an entire city free wireless will bring them more money. The article is copied here on livejournal">here on livejournal, too.
posted by sarahnade at 11:16 AM on November 16, 2005

stupid eyes not working and not hitting preview....
posted by sarahnade at 11:17 AM on November 16, 2005

What I think furtive is saying sarcastically I'll repeat I'll imply without sarcasm. The wireless won't mystically spy on people, so if you ignore it for all intents and purposes it's privacy neutral. It will neither improve or decrease your privacy.

I live in a midwestern town and private enterprise has come in and brought in wireless, only it's fee based. I don't know if there is fee based wireless in Mountain View or not, but I do know that here the public wasn't contacted (except for marketing purposes) nor have I heard any outrage over possible medical issues.
posted by substrate at 11:17 AM on November 16, 2005

It will be interesting to see how restricted the access is. Can anyone surf hard core porn sites in Mountain View? What about hate sites?

I can see some issues with free unfettered internet access (spammers for one) but I like the idea behind the proposal and can't wait for Google to offer Santa Cruz city-wide Wi-Fi, though, truth be told, there are so many unsecured wireless spots here it doesn't make that much of a difference either way, yet.
posted by fenriq at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2005

MetaFilter: Igonrami!
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:28 AM on November 16, 2005

One step closer to free google WiFi across the US
posted by subaruwrx at 11:29 AM on November 16, 2005

There is fee-based in-home wireless in Mountain View (SBC, Comcast, speakeasy, etc), and there are "hot spots" at certain places in town, however it is not currently being transmitted from every streetlight. This is what Google plans to do, and at "no cost" to the consumer.

When I was in college, Intel paid for free wireless across the entire campus, and I never heard a peep like this against it out of any of the students. But we were a nerdy school, so I think we were more impressed with the FREE INTERNETS ON THE QUAD W00T than the potential privacy or health infringements.
posted by sarahnade at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2005

My face is red.
posted by furtive at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2005

What the hell. I grew up in Mtn View and the whole time it was not known for much more than Moffett/Ames. Sheesh. Nobody had ever heard of it. I remember when the Google campus area & amphitheatre was a drive-in and the city dump. Now look at them. Tres chic.

OK, not THAT chic since they've got the only Walmart on the peninsula... and San Antonio Hobby is giving up... but still, free Wifi for all from Google seems cool. Think of all the free pr0n I could have downloaded if I had that back then... (except, uh, I would have had to save it to cassette tape on my Vic20). wide free wifi sounds pretty anonymous...does that mean anyone in MtnView can illegally share music P2P and the RIAA can't identify them?
posted by Larzarus at 11:41 AM on November 16, 2005

the privacy issues are on the part of Google, not the wireless (although, i imagine someone could come up with something about seemless intergregation between cops on the street & databases & i don't know what). but, from the last link

They refer to their privacy policy multiple times, but becoming an ISP is so far out of line of their current business practices that I'm not sure you can infer much from their standard policy. Specifically, acting as an ISP gives them access to a lot of data they didn't previously need policy for.
posted by 8 Bit at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2005

sorry, second to last link
posted by 8 Bit at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2005

Oakland County, Michigan, just north of Detroit, is in the process of implementing what will apparently be the first county-wide wireless access in the nation.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2005 wide free wifi sounds pretty anonymous...does that mean anyone in MtnView can illegally share music P2P and the RIAA can't identify them?

posted by ChasFile at 12:06 PM on November 16, 2005

how can wireless be a health issue?
posted by wakko at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2005

Kudos to Mountain View and Google for a step in the right direction. Someday, this will be the standard instead of the exception but in the meantime forward thinkers have to step up and take those potentially awkward first steps.

Sure, there will be issues of privacy, copyright, and personal/public use (among other things) to work out, but the end result will be worth the initial effort - IMO.
posted by 27 at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2005

"6) Will our health be affected? I suspect most of my internal systems run below 75Hz, but what about bursts of radio frequency at rates close to those that I'm running at? What happens if we set one of these transceivers up in the parking lot over at El Camino Hospital?"

The hell?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:15 PM on November 16, 2005

sarahnade posted "health issues,"

Geez, I wonder if any of the people expressing this concern have a wireless phone or microwave in their homes?
posted by Mitheral at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2005

[derail: Whatever happened to Ultra-Wideband?]
posted by lodurr at 12:29 PM on November 16, 2005

Larzarus writes "I would have had to save it to cassette tape on my Vic20"

8 bit porn is the best
posted by Mitheral at 12:31 PM on November 16, 2005

Well, there is a potential health issue from all that free sweet wireless porn.
posted by substrate at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2005

If we only had as much money as Google.

To update this previous post - we have an insurance policy, we have an office, and we have been granted access to one of the city's water towers.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2005

It would be nice to see Google (or anyone else for that matter) set something like this up in New Orleans. I am headed back there in January and Tulane is parking two cruise ships on the Mississippi to house students. They'll have to set up some sort of WiFi for the ships, since the campus is already wireless and students have come to expect it. It seems a perfect opportunity for this kind of experiment. Start with the areas around the cruise ships, and expand out from there. And its not as if anyone on the N.O. city council would complain.
posted by piedrasyluz at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2005

Google is one of over two dozen companies that have submitted proposals to provide WiFi to San Francisco. The problem is the details of the proposals are full of "proprietary information" that is not being disclosed to residents.
posted by trip and a half at 4:00 PM on November 16, 2005

These guys have already been down there setting up wireless networks in NO. I'm not sure if the networks are still up, but they were there right after the storm.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 11:56 PM on November 16, 2005

I was born in Mountain View, haven't been there since I was a year old, and now, finally, am sure it isn't Mountainview.
posted by goofyfoot at 3:16 PM on November 19, 2005

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